Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Why Nurses Should Screen for Abuse?
  • Nurses are well-positioned to screen for woman abuse because they are accessible, enjoy a high degree of public trust, and work in a variety of settings.
  • Nurses interact with women during times of stress and illness, as well as during developmental transitions such as adolescence, pregnancy, and parenthood.
  • Nurses utilize a holistic health promotion framework, incorporating strategies of empowerment and advocacy (Ross, 2002). This approach is especially important when intervening with abused women. Supporting the abused woman’s choice is critical so as not to replicate a relationship of coercion and control.
  • Nurses are frequently the first member of the health care team to interface with women experiencing abuse (Malecha, 2003), and as such must have the knowledge and skills necessary to screen and respond appropriately and effectively (Davidson et al., 2001; Malecha, 2003).